updated 02:15 pm EST, Thu November 11, 2010
AMD Radeon 2011 roadmap confirms new GPUs
AMD's Financial Analyst Day bore additional fruit today after a presentation (PDF) showed many of the details of its early 2011 graphics. Along with the existing 6850 and 6870, the company has confirmed three high-end desktop graphics cores. The 6970 should be the true replacement for the 5870, while the 6950 is a sequel to the 5850. The 6990 would be the fastest of all and will most likely have two 6950 chips paired together, much as the outgoing 5970 has two 5850 chips.
The 6970 will primarily improve through the addition of 16 extra texture units as well as an overall improved architecture and 2GB of video memory.
AMD was more hesitant to give away its mobile strategy but confirmed the Mobility Radeon HD 6950 and 6970. These are codenamed Granville and Blackcomb respectively and will aim at desktop replacement notebooks and thin desktops, since their 35W power draw rules out use in systems with long battery life. The mid-range, likely to be called the 6650 and 6670, is nicknamed Capilano and Whistler and should work in mainstream and some thin-and-light notebooks. Low end chips are less certain but are codenamed Robson and Seymour.
The notebook chipsets may use a staggered feature set where only the highest-end design in each tier uses the genuinely new components. Blackcomb, Whistler and Seymour would all have second-generation rendering and support for tricks like stereo 3D graphics, while others would just be newly reassigned versions of today's hardware.
Release windows aren't known, but one or more are likely to show at CES in January, where AMD often chooses to introduce new components.